Hello! I’m Ruth Dawkins. I’m a writer and blogger who was born on a tiny island in the north of Scotland. I now live in Hobart, Tasmania, with my husband and my 10-year-old son. I blog as DorkyMum and I also have a website for my copywriting and feature writing.
Where was your favourite ever trip?
Helsinki in 2018.
What made you choose to go there and who did you go with?
At the end of last year, I flew back from Australia to Scotland with my husband and son to visit friends and family. It’s a really, really long journey for us (five planes and 35 hours of travel in each direction) so on our return leg from the UK to Australia we decided to spend three nights in Helsinki.
What made it so special?
I had never been to Helsinki or Finland before, but our travel agent suggested it as a way to break up the flights, and as you can fly directly into Edinburgh with Finnair, it was ideal for us. It’s a really beautiful city – a wonderful mixture of architecture and different cultural influences. It feels a bit European, a bit Nordic and a bit Russian.
It was the first time we’d been on a city break with our son, who was nine at the time, and we found that Helsinki offered a perfect mixture of interesting activities and spaces for chilling out. The public transport is great – there are lots of buses and trams which are very affordable, but it’s also a very safe city for walking and cycling, and we enjoyed the opportunity to stroll around and explore. There are lots of gorgeous little details around the city like colourful benches for sitting on, bridges covered in love locks, and street signs that include pictures of animals (some real and some mythical!).
There’s a beautiful waterfront, with ferries in one section and expensive yachts and Arctic icebreakers in another section, so there was always something interesting to see on the water. There are also many museums and galleries, all of which seem very welcoming to children. Our favourite was the Sealife Centre, which is part of the Linnanmäki Amusement Park. We didn’t make it out to the zoo, which sits on an island just off the coast, but we’d love to go back again and will make time to visit it next time.
We really enjoyed eating Finnish food for the first time: lots of blueberry and lingonberry juice; all kinds of delicious bread and pastries (our favourites were malt bread and Keralin pies); and we even tried some reindeer. Food and drink were expensive in some venues, especially in hotel restaurants, so it’s worth bringing a picnic lunch on days out, and saving your money for a nice meal in the evening.
One of our favourite things about Helsinki was the hotel we stayed in – Hotel Katajanokka – which was a converted prison. It was very comfortable and spacious, and had the best hotel beds we’d ever slept it, but we also loved that it was full of unique features that reminded us of its history.
We have wonderful memories of our time in Helsinki. We’re sorry it was such a short stay, but we packed a lot in and now we know that it’s a city that’s well worth a visit in its own right, not just as a stopover!
Where was your least favourite trip and why?
I didn’t have a great time when I went to Barcelona in my early twenties, but that was mainly my own fault. We went at a very busy time of year, and I don’t like crowds. I also drank a bit too much Spanish wine one night and spent most of the next day feeling queasy while we were supposed to be doing a minibus tour of the city’s best sights! I’d love to try again now that I’m a bit older and wiser…
What destination is on your Bukit list?
There are almost too many to list, but the top three on my current Bukit list are Mexico, for the delicious food, Hawaii, for the beaches and sunshine, and Japan because it looks so beautiful and interesting in all the photos I’ve seen.
Thankyou Ruth – so lovely to hear your travel blogger tales .
Please take a look here to see my Bukit list